Top 22 Difference Between Bacteria and Virus

Difference Between Bacteria and Virus

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Bacteria are referred to as microscopic, single-celled organisms which exist in their millions, in every environment, both inside and outside other organisms.

In 1676, a Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first observed a bacterial cell by using a single-lens microscope of his own design.

In 1828, Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg first introduced the term “bacterium”


Virus is a microscopic, infectious particle that can reproduce or replicate within the living cell of an organism or host. Viruses can not reproduce without a host cell. They infect almost all living forms such as animals, plants, and bacteria.

In 1898, a Dutch scientist, Martinus Beijerinck discovered the world’s first virus which was the tobacco mosaic virus. He conducted an experiment to show that there is another infectious particle that is smaller than bacteria and responsible for the infection in tobacco plants.

Difference Between Bacteria and Virus

Difference Between Bacteria and Virus

DefinitionBacteria is a types of cell that constitute a large domain of prokaryotic cell.Virus is a small infectious organism that replicate only within the cell of other organisms.
SizeBacteria are larger than virus (0.3 – 3u)Viruses are smaller than bacteria (0.02 – 0.3u)
No. of cellBacteria are unicellularThey don’t considered as a cell so they are neither unicellular nor multicellular.
Reproduction MethodsBacteria reproduce by binary fission. Invades the host cell and takes over the cell causing it to make copies of the viral DNA/RNA. Destroying the host cell releasing new viruses.
Nucleic acidDNA and RNA present floating in cytoplasmDNA or RNA enclosed in a coat of protein.
Cell Wallpeptidoglycan or lipopolysaccharideNo cell wall. protein coat is present instead.
Living/Non-livingLiving organismBetween living and non-living things.
ReproduceAble to reproduce by itselfNeed a living cell to reproduce.
Susceptibility to drugsMost of them can be killed or inhibited by antobiotics.Cannot be killed by the antibiotics Some can be inhibited by the antiviral drugs.
Living ConditionsMost of them can survive and reproduce outside the host.Need host cell to reproduce and survive.
EnzymesPresent Present in some.
MicroscopeVisible under light microscope.need electron microscope to visualize.
Genetic MaterialA single, circular chromosome is present.DNA/RNA strand is present.
Cellular MachineryBacteria possess a cellular machinery.Virus lack cellular machinery.
MetabolismBacteria show metabolism within the cell.There is no metabolism inside the viral particle.
BenefitsBacteria can be either beneficial or harmful.Viruses are usually harmful, can be useful in genetic engineering.
Duration of IllnessDiseases caused by bacteria last longer than 10 days.Diseases caused by viruses last 2 to 10 days.
FeverBacteria cause fever.Viruses may or may not cause fever.
Diseases/ InfectionsFood poisoning, gastritis, ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, etc. are caused by bacteria.AIDS, common cold, influenza, chickenpox, etc. are caused by viruses.
ExamplesStaphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholera, etc. are examples of bacteria.HIV, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino Virus, etc. are examples of viruses.

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